Christmas with Aldo Zilli

Christmas with Aldo Zilli
We're all getting in the Christmas spirit here at Sacla', so we asked our friend Aldo Zilli to tell us about Christmas as a child growing up in Abruzzo, Italy. "As a boy in Abruzzo, we would always have Fritto Misto before Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. This would be a selection of fish and vegetables deep fried in a tempura-like batter which is very traditional in Italy – especially if you live near the coast as we did. My father reared pigs when I was young, so Christmas Day would be everything pork! BBQ pork chops and porchetta - the stuffing for the porchetta was similar to one I would use today for turkey with lots of sausage and fennel. These days Christmas in the Zilli household is a cross continent affair with influences from my Italian background and my wife’s British traditions. So we’ll have the turkey, which was picked out in November, with my homemade stuffing and a mix of British and Italian side dishes. I look after dessert, so I always make a very traditional Neapolitan dish Struffoli. These are marble sized fritters with a crunchy coating and a light, fluffy inside. You simply fry the dough balls in vegetable oil, which will rise to the surface when ready. Then coat with honey and orange rind. Serve in a pyramid and sprinkle with a handful of hundreds and thousands for a celebratory look!"